February 15, 2019
As assistant head coach to the Harvard Men’s basketball team, Yanni Hufnagel lead the team to it’s first ever NCAA victory during the Men’s Basketball Championship known as March Madness. Now, with that feat under his belt, the coach has made the decision to relocate his skills and expertise to Vanderbilt University.
For Yanni, the decision was easy. He claims Vanderbilt has the academic height of Harvard as well as being in a tough conference such as the SEC. Yanni appreciates how much the SEC has given players to the NBA as it is one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA.
Yanni’s other teams that he has served as coach for include Nevada and California. His acumen in basketball is demonstrated through the unique connection he has with the players. He is considered one of the top recruiters in college basketball.
As an assistant with Oklahoma, Yanni has been credited as helping shape NBA great Blake Griffin. Attending Penn State, Yanni transferred to Cornell University where he earned a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations in 2006. At the University of Oklahoma, he acquired his graduate degree. In the interim, he performed a summer internship with the New Jersey Nets.
For the Maccabiah Games, Hufnagel was appointed the coach of the Team USA Youth, but declined the role due his position with Vanderbilt. He is known for building tremendous relationships with other coaches and players and strives to be the best he can be with the resources available. His belief that if a person tries hard enough they can accomplish anything is evident in his consistent success as a coach within multiple programs.
Yanni Hufnagel has proven that a good coach is a mentor and leader as well as one who builds connections with the players that go beyond the court.